We are living in a time where everything has to be done quickly. Everyone wants faster cars, faster technology, fast food. I even see it in the gym – faster reps and quick, short workouts are becoming a popular trend, and to be honest I see a lot of people spending more time in the sauna than in the actual gym.

So I’ve taken a trip to an old school Bodybuilding gym in Wavertree, Liverpool to speak to owner Doug Thomalla and find out what it really takes to get in the best shape of your life.

The Former Mr Britain, Mr Germany & Mr Holland winner has competed in over twenty major competitions and even competed with the original HULK! Lou Ferrigno. Doug’s Gym has been going strong for over 40 years and is known as the ‘School for Gladiators’. A place coated in history, blood, sweat, tears and workouts that will leave you so tired you can’t even lift your arms to take a gym selfie.

At 80 Years old and still training regularly, I have to say Doug has more knowledge on health and fitness than most people – along with the experience, (and trophies!) to prove it. So to help answer any training queries, I’ve asked him a few of the most frequently asked questions.

What is the best way to train, should we be doing fast reps?

No.  You want to use a comfortable weight at a steady pace to avoid injury! – Which should always be your main concern. You want the last few reps to be a struggle. I trained with the best of them- Dorian Yates, Serge Nubret, Franco Columbu, Samir Bannout to name a few and this is how they all train.

What is the most important thing when trying to get in shape?

Nutrition is the answer to everything. You are what you eat.

But how do you stay motivated?

My family kept me motivated – My two sons Geoff and Lee, and when times got really tough my Wife would look me in the eye and say “Get to the gym.” Like they say: ‘behind every great man is an even greater woman.’

Does lifting heavy matter?

Definitelynot. Everyone thinks lifting heavy will make you bigger, which is true to an extent but it’s also the fastest way to get injured and once you’re injured it’s game over.

How long should my workout last if I’m training on my own?

About an hour to an hour and half is enough time to have a good workout. But I say you should base it on your energy levels, some days you can do more and some you will do less, the most important thing is that you get yourself in the gym at all.

What supplements would you recommend?

I always recommend a good multivitamin.  Amino acids and a high quality protein shake that is low in carbohydrates to drink after your workout are always beneficial.

How many days should I be getting in the gym?

The average person should be in the gym at least three times a week and changing your routine every 8-10 weeks.

Why would you recommend Doug’s Gym over any other?

Because it is old school, it’s a place for people who really want to train and learn about the world of health & fitness. We are like a family here, and once you are here we will help you with all aspects of training. Unlike leisure centres these days I will give you all of my knowledge on nutrition and training for FREE!

What advice would you give to our readers?

To have faith in yourself. You only get out of life what you put in.

Doug’s Gym is run by Doug and Geoff Thomalla. Open Monday – Friday 2-9pm, Wavertree High Street.